“Sarah, I have something to tell you.”
My heart instantly went cold as I gazed into my boyfriend’s eyes. I had come back to my apartment after class to find him sitting on my bed, waiting for me. When I left to attend my 9 a.m. Bullshit 101, I left him curled up in my comforter, thinking nothing of it. With a kiss on his cheek, I had bounced out of the building, ready to stalk Facebook for 45 minutes before I could grab some coffee, some morning sex, and then some more sleep.
But when I opened the door to my bedroom, carrying two cups of coffee, I immediately froze at the look on Aaron’s face.
Fuck. What did I do? I edged towards my desk and gently placed the scalding cups on the edge, wracking my brain to try to figure out what I had done. No recent texts to exes, not even when I was drunk. No super embarrassing moments being blackout drunk, and I definitely didn’t cheat on him. Something must be wrong with him, I decided, before perching on the chair in the corner of my room and tried to speak over the lump in my throat.
“Is everything okay? What’s going on?” I uttered finally, anxious at the blank look in his eyes and noticing for the first time, the piece of paper clutched in his hands.
“After you went to class,” he started, “I couldn’t fall back asleep.”
I stared at him blankly, wondering where this was going.
“And so I just went to your desk and looked for something to do,” he gestured towards the top drawer of the shitty wooden desk the complex gave me, and I could feel the panic scratching at my internal organs, “And I uh. I found something,” he finished, holding up the folded piece of paper.
I squinted at it, faintly recognizing the design of the faded piece of stationary.
“What is that?” I squeaked finally, fearing the worst.
He tossed it my way with a scathing look. As my fingers brushed the paper, I instantly knew what it was. Time stopped. The world stopped. My heart stopped. With shaky fingers, I unfolded it, recognizing my own loopy handwriting scribbled all over the familiar page. I didn’t even have to take in the color-coded key in the corner, the giant title at the top, or the list of names adorned with colors, notes, and signs. I knew what it was the moment it reached my hands. I had feared what it was when he said he went in my drawer. With wet eyes, I slowly brought my gaze to his set, stony face.
“It’s your sex list,” he finally muttered.
Yes, my boyfriend had found my sex list. The one source of information that told him everything he didn’t want to know, and leaked all of my dirty little secrets. Having a list isn’t uncommon. Whether it’s in your mind, on your phone, or scribbled somewhere you hope will never be discovered, keeping a list of names is just something we do. Well, not everyone. If you have any common sense you’ll realize that keeping track is a terrible, terrible idea.
But common sense was never my strong suit.
So when my high school boyfriend dumped my ass, and I became, how would you say — a total slut — I decided it would be fun to keep track of my endeavors. But I didn’t just want a name of people I had mediocre sex with. I wanted to keep track of everything. Guys I kissed. Girls I kissed. People I touched, people I licked, people who penetrated me. But wait, it gets worse. There were real doozies on there. The things you didn’t want your boyfriend of five months to know. Like that you had anal with a guy. Twice. Or hooked up in a canoe in public. Or had a threesome with your childhood friend. Or that the guys written in purple were very well endowed, and unfortunately, your current boyfriend didn’t not have violet ink to his name.
Considering that we had been dating “officially” for less than half a year, we hadn’t quite gotten to the part in our relationship where I mention that I’ve taken a dick in my ass.
“I…uh…well,” I stammered, unable to process what to do from here, “Wait why were you snooping in my drawers?”
“I wasn’t snooping,” he said, with an annoying air of arrogance. “You left me here and I was looking for something to do.”
He was looking for something to do? I stared at him, unable to shake the feeling of discomfort. I had been gone an hour. He was asleep when I left. I had a TV in my room, and he had his phone, which is a personal fucking computer. Even more than that, with a glance at the nightstand I confirmed that yes, he had his keys, too. He could have easily gone home. Or fucked around on his phone. Or jerked off for all I cared. But he did not *need* to go through my shit. He did not *need* to see that I had gotten it on to the motion of the ocean (okay, fine, it was a lake) on a rental canoe at a fraternity grab-a-date.
He was a sneaky snake. And you know what we do with sneaky snakes? We destroy their fucking souls.
“No,” I said clearly for the first time, “you weren’t looking for something to do. You were literally just looking through my shit.”
I tossed the paper on my desk and stared at him, seeing him for the first time. In his defense, finding a list of every. single. thing your partner had ever done would be pretty disturbing. On the other hand, this is why you don’t snoop. I wasn’t the bad guy for doing these things. He was the bad guy for trying to find something to be mad at me about. At least, that’s what I was telling myself.
“I can’t believe you did all of that,” he said finally, with a look of disgust.
“I can’t believe you did that,” I shot back, feeling the rage pulse through my body.
We stared at each other in silence, both at a loss for what just happened. Moments before I had been on top of the world, ready to cuddle up in by with my boyfriend, but now? All I wanted to do was viciously add to my list that this guy had a small, slightly bent dick and the personality to match.
“I don’t know if I can get over this,” he said, standing up to reach for his keys.
“You can’t get over this?” I shot back, unable to contain my giggles. “You can’t get over the fact that I’ve had a threesome, but I’m supposed to be cool with the fact that you dug through my personal belongings to find dirt on me?” I reached for his jacket resting on the back of my chair and threw it at him. “Get the fuck out of my apartment.”
With not so much as a “goodbye” or “it’s been fun” he slammed first my bedroom door, then my apartment door, and walked out of my life.
After five minutes of screaming, throwing his coffee against the wall (not advised), and instantly deleting him on social media I realized that this was for the best. Anyone who makes you feel bad about your past is no one to be with. And anyone who makes it their mission to find out your past, even if you didn’t agree to tell it, is even worse. Still, after a few minutes of deliberation, I figured it was best to destroy the list, once and for all. It got in the wrong hands once — who’s to say it wouldn’t happen again?
As I watched the torn pieces of my past swirl down my toilet bowl, I felt a sense of relief. Not just because no one else would ever find that way too detailed list of names, but because I got out a relationship that was obviously headed nowhere good. Just as the last piece disappeared down the sewer (poetic, right?) my phone buzzed.
“I’ll be over in 5.”
No, it wasn’t my now-ex. But the guy on the list with the brightest purple name. Just because the paper was gone, doesn’t mean the memories were. So if you ever decide to make a list, either keep it mental or keep it safe. And know that no matter what happens, some guys are dicks who will walk out on you and your past, and some guys have great dicks and in your time of need will come to you (and on you) no matter what..
Image via Shutterstock